Churches Uniting in Christ
|COCU prepares to become CUIC
New incarnation of 40-year-old movement will focus
by Jerry L. Van Marter, Presbyterian News Service
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - 18-January-2002 - More than 300
leaders from nine denominations representing 22 million American
Christians are gathering here this weekend to celebrate a culmination of
40 years of unity talks.
By the end of their time together Monday at Noon, the
member churches of the Consultation on Church Union (COCU) will be known
as Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC).
CUIC will be charged with further advancing Christian
unity in the United States, but in a far different way from the concept
of church merger that launched COCU in 1960.
Instead, the CUIC churches - including the
Presbyterian Church (USA) have agreed to officially recognize each
other's ministries and ministers and have pledged to work together
toward greater visible unity, both inside and outside the church. CUIC
will not involve structures or bureaucracies and no member church's
polity will have to change.
And in what will most surely be far greater challenge
than previous attempted agreements on doctrine and church structure,
CUIC's churches have agreed to work together to overcome the racism
which still divides American people and churches.
"Never before has a church unity effort
challenged the biggest divide, which is race," current COCU general
secretary Michael Kinnamon of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. "It's one thing to
overcome the divisions of the Reformation, it's another thing to
overcome the divisions of racial separation."
It is that commitment to overcome racism that has
brought COCU/CUIC to Memphis on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend.
The weekend's events - worship, workshops and celebrations - will
culminate Monday morning with a march from Memphis City Hall to the
National Civil Rights Museum, which is located at the former Lorraine
Motel, where King was assassinated in 1968.
Robert Edgar, general secretary of the National
Council of Churches, will keynote the holiday rally at the museum,
standing in for former U.N. ambassador and civil rights leader Andrew
Young, who was with King here on the day he was killed.
Other events scheduled this weekend include an opening
worship service and celebration of COCU on Friday; workshops on a
variety of church unity topics all day Saturday; a special service
inaugurating CUIC on Sunday and the 1.2-mile march and rally on Monday.
The member denominations of COCU/CUIC include the
African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African American Episcopal Zion
Church, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Christian
Methodist Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Church, the International
Council of Community Churches, the PC(USA), the United Church of Christ
and the United Methodist Church.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Roman
Catholic Church, the Moravian Church and the American Baptist Churches,
while not members, have expressed support for CUIC and are expected to
have representatives present for the festivities.
ratified (or not) by the presbyteries
A number of the most important actions of the 219th
General Assembly are now being sent to the presbyteries for their
action, to confirm or reject them as amendments to the PC(USA) Book
We're providing resources to help inform the
reflection and debate, along with updates on the voting.
Our three areas of primary interest are:
which would remove the current ban on
lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender persons being considered as
possible candidates for ordination as elder or ministers.|
which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of
10-1, which would adopt the new Form of Government
that was approved by the Assembly. |
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